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Things Go Better in Allston-Brighton

Posted by Jim Botticelli  July 29, 2013 10:36 AM

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CokePlantAllstonAnnAntonellis.jpg
                            Once upon a time on Cambridge St at Storrow Drive

     It was once Boston's second most famous corporate landmark. Citgo was first. The Coca Cola sign along the Charles River stood alone as a neon landmark signaling your arrival to the city as you made your way down Storrow or Memorial Drive toward town. A quarter mile back you were still in Cambridge passing Harvard Stadium and the 'B' School. Genzyme was a gleam in a breeder's eye. The old Coke plant was a throwback to a time when train traffic amassed in Allston, blocks from the place, where the product could be easily distributed and the city itself, along with the rest of the country, was industry-oriented. It served as a reminder of how much the Mass Pike extension changed the feel of parts of the city.

     "It used to be right where the Guest Suites (now Doubletree) Hotel is now," recalls Mireille on a post in Neon Boston in 2005 called Tube-Fixin' Time. "At night the sign was spectacular. During the day it was no slouch either. It used to have this wave of color and white lights that would swoop from the top of the first C in Coca all the way to the A at the end of Cola with this beautiful vibrant background all in red lights. It also used to tell time which, when you were racing home to beat a curfew came in handy!"

     "The Coca Cola Bottling Company of Boston's sign was stored temporarily at the Beacon train engine facility (Conrail/CSX)" recalled Phineas T. Whoopie in October, 2004, also on Neon Boston. "It was apparently scrapped. No one has taken responsibility."

                  "It was a New Day Yesterday but an Old Day Now"....Jethro Tull

     Since 1989 the Doubletree Hotel has been home to Sculler's, Fred Taylor's upscale replacement to the near mythic venues Paul's Mall and the Jazz Workshop on Boylston St in  Back Bay, subject of a future posting on Dirty Old Boston. Where Coke bottles used to roll in, get cleansed, filled with product and shipped off, legendary acts such as Sergio Mendes, The Manhattans and Tony Bennett now perform. Once again we are reminded of an older and grittier Boston. Once again we are reminded of change, the only consistent characteristic of the Boston cityscape. Plus ca change........

Don't forget to 'like' our Facebook page, also called Dirty Old Boston

Ciao for Now.....JB
This blog is not written or edited by Boston.com or the Boston Globe.
The author is solely responsible for the content.

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About the author

Jim Botticelli, a 1976 Northeastern University graduate, is a retired Boston Public Schools teacher. In college, he drove a cab and learned the city's cow paths. An avid collector of More »

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